When I was very young, I wanted to be a boy. In all the books I read and all the films I watched, boys had such interesting lives, much better than girls. They had adventures, they fought, they changed the world, they protected their beloved. And the girls? Well. They mostly stayed loved and protected, while watching the boys do all those fantastic things.
Now don't get me wrong. I adore a good male hero loving and protecting his girl; anybody who read The Trouble with Belonging will have no doubts about it. But why couldn't those girls have some adventures, too? It was so unfair. (Here I have to pay homage to great Astrid Lindgren and her unforgettable Pippi. They saved my self-esteem as a child and helped me make peace with my gender.)
When my daughter was little, something started to change. We both watched Mulan a hundred times at least, and stories with enterprising, spiny, smart heroines popped up on bookstore shelves and on the screen one after another. But they all still carried this note of amazement: look, a girl, and she did THAT! Which basically meant that it wasn't normal, nor really recommended for ordinary girls to be so... unfeminine?
But then girls and young women grabbed at the pens and keyboards themselves, en masse, and started creating their own stories with kick-ass heroines, badass heroines, rebel heroines, genius-girl heroines etc. And now the youngest generation reads these books and treats them already as the classic canon. Isn't it marvelous?
I have no illusions. There are still enormous areas of our globe where girls are discouraged or even forbidden from having their own life and their own opinions. It happens on everyday basis even in the developed, allegedly modern societies. But.
I am a binge person.
I won't start watching a drama series which is not finished. Waiting a week for another episode would drive me crazy. I binge watch, just as I binge read (though never both during the same stretch of time), and then walk around bleary-eyed and cranky from too little sleep because unfortunately, it is impossible to speed up the process and watch faster. Film series are in this aspect much less binge-friendly than books.
And when I started writing The Trouble with Belonging, it was a good few months of writing and hardly anything else. No reading. No watching. No playing. No talking. No surfing the Internet, save the research for the book. I was a writing monk.
I used to wonder if other people are like that, too. Now I know that most are not, and it's easy to recognize another binge person. They are those irritating weirdos obsessed with something they are doing at the moment to such a degree that they can hardly pay attention to anything else, and you can see how they struggle and have to make an effort to stay tuned to the normal life around them.
If you feel sorry for them, don't. There's a big chance they are actually quite happy in their madness.
Mmm, science fiction books. Not everybody's cup of tea, I know. But I like.
I have a soft spot for those SF novels and short stories which focus less on the marvels of the futuristic technology and more on the social issues. Though there must be a little bit of technobabble included, or it wouldn't be really SF, I guess.
Some SF books ask such astute and profound questions about the future of out planet and our human society that I sometimes think they should be made an obligatory read for all politicians and lawmakers, and perhaps for high school students, too.
And some other books are pure fun and a pleasure to read, and that's scientifically fantastic, too.
So here they are, a handful of my favorite SF books from different periods and parts of the world.
Do you usually stick to one genre of fiction?
I most definitely don't.
I read literary novels and sci-fi, adventure and classic fantasy, and urban fantasy, historical fiction and steampunk, chick-lit and YA books, and romance in different variations. Horror or crime fiction novels don't appeal to me so much, but I venture into those territories from time to time as well.
And what about books that mix and cross genres? Yes, yes, yes! Love them, even if I get completely stuck while trying to put them in a right category on my e-reader, and on a right shelf in my bookcase.
Now that I think about it, there's no chance I'll be able to list all my favorite books on this website, there are just too many. But a few winners in a few categories... That's doable, I suppose.
Let's start with HISTORICAL FICTION. Because why not?
Here goes part one: list of my favorites classic novels. Check it out!